How does remote advising work, and what’s the plan with advising when UCF gets back to “normal”?
Until the university allows normal operations, the College of Sciences Advising Services (COSAS) will continue to provide services remotely. Remote, or virtual, advising has proven to be easy, effective, and – most importantly – our students like the convenience and easy access (students can talk with an advisor from anywhere!). Because our remote advising is so effective, once the university does return to “normal”, COSAS will continue to offer a mix of both in-person and remote advising so that we are more accessible to our students.
During the spring and summer 2021, students can access an advisor remotely either in person (on a limited basis) or by using the COSAS “Virtual Office” Zoom. Wait-times to speak with an advisor are very short, and all interactions can be handled through the virtual office.
Students who want to meet with a college advisor should first visit the COSAS website for information about how to access virtual advising or to find out about in-person hours and location.
If my student has a question about their academic schedule, who should they contact?
If your student has questions about their schedule that are related to completing the degree or a major requirement (for example: junior and senior level courses, restricted elective requirements, core course requirements), they should contact their departmental major advisor. Each of our departments and the schools has faculty and professional advisors to assist students with scheduling questions like these. The list of who these advisors are, by departmental area, is found on the College of Sciences Advising Services (COSAS) website.
If your student is new to UCF as a freshman (also referred to as a first-time in college -FTIC- student) or if your student has questions about general education courses (GEP courses), they should contact their FTIC advisor in the College of Sciences. If you or they are not sure who this advisor is, they can contact the College of Sciences Advising Services (COSAS) office directly by emailing COSAS@ucf.edu or by calling 407/823-6131.
More information about all of the services provided by COSAS are found on the COSAS website.
If my student has a question about a course they are taking, who should they contact?
If your student has questions about a specific course they want or are scheduled to take, your student should contact the department or school that offers the course. While it might be tricky to know which department/school teaches the course, that information can easily be found in the UCF Undergraduate Catalog.
- Select the 2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog
- Under Page Navigation (right-hand side), click on “Courses and Descriptions”
- Search for the course and click on the course to reveal the course information
- In the bottom, right of the description will be the college and department that offers the course.
- For example: COS-BIOL is a College of Sciences course offered out of the Biology Department. COS-NSCM is a College of Sciences course offered out of the Nicholson School of Communication and Media.
You’ll note that most course descriptions also include information about any prerequisite requirements. Prerequisite requirements are those courses or conditions that must be completed prior to attending the course and that sometimes restrict registration into the course.
Once you know which department/school offers the course, you can contact them to answer any questions you have about the course.
What should my student do if the class they want is closed (full)?
Closed classes occur when a class has met its enrollment capacity. When we know a student needs to or wants to enroll in a high-demand course, we have several recommendations:
- We encourage our students to work with their major or college advisor to identify an ideal and optional course schedule, should the preferred schedule not be fulfilled.
- All students are provided an enrollment appointment time, which is the day and time when they are first able to register for courses in upcoming semesters. We encourage students to enroll as soon as their enrollment appointment allows.
- Finally, we want our students to use the waitlist option if it is available for the course. More information about the waitlist can be found here: https://registrar.ucf.edu/waitlist/.
My student took a biology course (or any course offered out of the College of Sciences) at a university that is not located in Florida. How can we know if that course is the same as UCF's BSC2010C - Biology I (or a UCF course)?
If your student completed a college or university level course at an out-of-state institution or at a Florida private institution, he or she should have the course evaluated for equivalency to a UCF course. These are called “transfer courses” and the equivalency evaluation may result in your student getting full UCF credit for a course taken somewhere else. Transfer courses are evaluated by the comparable UCF department or school that offers the course*.
To have a transfer course evaluated for equivalency to a course offered out of the College of Sciences, your student should initiate a COS Course Evaluation. On this website, course information is submitted via a Student Portal. Course evaluations are completed by qualified faculty.
*Don’t know who offers comparable courses? See the question and answer above that asks “If my student has a question about a course they are taking, who should they contact?” or the COS Course Evaluation website to use the course catalog to find out who offers the course.
How is advising structured in the College of Sciences?
- Every student with a declared COS major has an assigned faculty advisor based on their major. In addition, your student may also have access to professional advisors associated with the department/school that offers their major. Finally, every student has a College of Sciences Advising Services (COSAS) advisor. What’s the main thing you need to know about all these advisors? They are coordinated and they talk with each other.
- Your student’s faculty advisor is there to help them identify experiences, opportunities, and specific courses that will fulfill their degree goals and prepare them for what they want to do next. The major-specific, professional advisors know all the ins-and-outs of the degree requirements and the policies of the department or school of which they are a part. These major-specific professional advisors are the go-to’s as your student completes their degree. The college-level COSAS advisor will get your student transitioned from admission into general education and prerequisite courses and assist your student all the way through graduation. The COSAS advisors provide information on college and university policies and procedures, and they will help ensure that your student’s academic records are accurate.
- It is our expectation that each student will connect with their COSAS advisor at least once each major semester (spring and fall) for guidance on timely completion of degree requirements.
Where can my student go for general advising? If students have a question but don’t know where to find the answer, who can help them?
If you or your student has a question and they just don’t know where to start to get that question answered, we encourage you or your student to visit our College of Sciences Advising Office (COSAS) website. If the question cannot be answered by through a more detailed Advising FAQ page, your student should one of our COSAS peer or professional advisors. After we understand what is needed, we will be able to direct your student to the correct office or person who can provide them with the information they seek.
For a variety of standard “questions and answers”, there are a couple places to review information:
What are the different degree options that are available in the college? And who can I contact to learn more about a particular degree option?
The College of Sciences offers 79 options (including tracks, specializations and concentrations) from 24 different degree programs. To explore all of the degrees offered in the college, please visit the university’s Degree Search site.
If you know the major your student is pursuing and have questions, or if your student is thinking of changing majors to a program within the College of Sciences, each of our departments and the schools has faculty and professional advisors who can help. The list of who these advisors are, by major, is found on the College of Sciences Advising Services (COSAS) website.
My student completed their Associate of Arts (A.A.) before coming to UCF. Does this mean they will graduate in two years?
- Ideally yes, but whether or not this actually occurs depends on a variety of factors – from course completion to social adjustment. Did your student complete all of the major’s prerequisite (or entry-level) courses needed with their AA? Did your student start taking math courses at a high enough level to keep them on track for a two-year graduation? It is also important to consider transfer shock and timing for extracurricular development when deciding on a two-year graduation plan. Students who are not at all familiar with our university’s structure may benefit from starting more slowly (taking fewer courses) to ensure academic success. In addition, students who are working full-time or need to be engaged in activities outside of UCF may need to take a little longer.
- The goal is to graduate! So your student should keep in contact with their college advisor to ensure they are enrolling into the correct courses and are successfully balancing their academic expectations.
Who can talk with my student about their readiness for graduation or if they have questions about their intent to graduate?
Your student should talk to both their major advisor (faculty or professional advisor) and with the COSAS Graduation Advisor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. These advisors will review the degree for program and university requirements and will be able to confirm what – if anything – is needed to complete the major.
How can my student get involved with student organizations associated with their major?
Each major and program area offers multiple opportunities to get involved in student organizations. Your student should talk with their major advisor about academic organizations that will be of benefit to them – both student and professional organizations. In addition, both you and your student can learn more about program-specific student organizations by visiting these pages:
How can my student get involved in research?
- There are many opportunities for your student to get involved in undergraduate research, and in many cases research can be completed for course credit and it can fulfill major requirements. We encourage our students to contact faculty members in their major to discuss their interest in participating in research.
- The research in which faculty are engaged is normally listed on the department’s or school’s websites, within the individual faculty member’s listing. See https://science.ucf.edu for all of our department/school websites.
- In addition, UCF has many resources for students interested in research. The Office of Undergraduate Research provides many opportunities for research engagement, and the UCF’s Honors College has a program for Honors Undergraduate Thesis that includes structured research engagement.
How can I find out about college scholarships for my student?
By academic program or in general, students completing majors in the College of Sciences can explore various funding and scholarship opportunities. The College of Sciences Scholarships page includes a number of opportunities awarded by and through the college, most of which have an application deadline of March 31 each year. For more information about COS Scholarships, please visit our website.
In addition to college-specific opportunities, students are also encouraged to visit the Office of Financial Assistance’s Scholarships website or the Burnett Honors College’s Office of Prestigious Awards website.
What should my student do if they are struggling in a class?
- If students are facing difficulty in a course, it is important that they reach out to their instructor as soon as possible and early in the semester to discuss their concerns and have a plan to succeed in the course. Faculty members are available during their office hours, or students can schedule a meeting to discuss course concerns.
- In addition, UCF offers several other academic resources. Please see the following websites for more information.
- The Student Academic Resource Center or SARC offers academic support services such as tutoring, supplemental instruction, success workshops, and coaching.
- The Math Success Center offers online math tutoring in many lower-division math courses.
- The Undergrad Chemistry Tutoring Center offers tutoring in many lower-division chemistry courses.
What should my student do if they have a concern with their faculty member or grade they earned?
We care about our students’ academic success and wellbeing. Many times we find that the answer or concern can be answered by reviewing the course syllabus, but if the needed information is not there, your student must first try to resolve the course concern with the instructor teaching the course. If the student is uncomfortable doing this or if the conversation with the instructor fails to resolve the matter, your student should then contact the instructor’s department chair or school’s director to discuss their concerns. For College of Sciences courses, the chair/director information is found on each unit’s website. If this meeting does not resolve the concern, a student can escalate the issue to the dean’s office where an associate dean will review the concern.
Outside of the support I’m providing my student, to what support systems does my student have access?
While starting college is exciting, the newfound independence, responsibility, and time-commitment can be overwhelming. There are several resources to help your student through this adjustment period. UCF offers peer mentors and professional advisors to help with academic success; psychological counselors and extensive UCF CARES services to help them be personally successful; and many social events and programming geared towards building academic community. All of these services and supports are free to your student. We encourage our students to take full advantage of these services as needed, and we want you to also encourage (or remind) your student about these services if you think they need them.